Once upon a time there was a wonderfully daunting, terrifying rap group called Three 6 Mafia made up of DJ Paul and Juicy J with their influential Hypnotize Minds record label growing greatly as time went by. Actually both these artists are most likely still on good terms and might make another “Triple 6” album, but for now they seem to be taking an extended break leaving their label, fans, and following nearly defunct. Since Juicy J’s Hustle Till I Die album came out, he has signed with Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang label and ascended from the underground with the help of his mega star, rapper friends and the popular hit single “Bandz A Make Her Dance” which was released almost a year before the release of the album it appears on, Stay Trippy. Juicy J and Three 6 have made some of most crafty, creative horrorcore-hip hop music the world has ever heard, but while some of the scary, frightening elements from that era are kept for Stay Trippy, the themes are getting a little old by this point in time, and the several guest artists on the album clutter Juicy J’s artistic maneuverability.
Juicy’s rhymes are ok, but he is so caught up with weed, violence, money, and women that they seem the only four subjects Juicy cares to rap about. Granted this is his style and it’s largely what he has been rapping about since the beginning, but different methods can be tried. To his credit however, Juicy J has done well with some key word selection for his rhymes giving his verses much welcomed spice. It’s just that the subjects run redundant sometimes.
Just as Juicy J gets on a roll with his lyrics, one of the big name guests on the LP plows through with a stand out verse. Wale, Yelawolf, Big Sean, Young Jeezy, and Wiz Khalifa (to name a few), while all providing excellent verses on the album, draw focus away from Juicy and steal the show in the songs on which they appear. Three guests is a safe number of guest rappers to appear on any given rapper’s album to ensure balance, and the resident rapper must compensate for the friendly competition these guests will undoubtedly bring to the table. Stay Trippy features a whopping nine big name, guest rappers on sixteen tracks not including the bonus tracks, and all of their contributions are exemplary. To be fair, Juicy J matches their level of achievement as they come in, but their presence is undoubtedly heavy.
Delightfully reassuring is the fact that the beats on Stay Trippy capture the spooky, eerie feeling that made the early Three 6 Mafia projects so hauntingly tempting. Rapidly ticking drum rolls permeate the entire album as a sign of the times. Producers on the album include Mike WiLL Made It, Young Chop, Lex Luger, Dr. Luke, Timbaland, and Juicy J himself.
Much more commercial hype surrounds this album than anything previously done by Juicy J due to Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang support in addition to all the high profile guest artists featured. It is the numerous guests and also the recycled themes and subjects here that hold the album back, but otherwise it is not bad, a nice combo platter in the restaurant of hip hop.